- Pictures are very sharp and clean
- Colours are intense but believable
- Good price for what's on offer
- Black levels could be deeper
- Fan noise can distract
- No vertical image shift
Review Price free/subscription
With a price tag of just £1,200, BenQ's DLP-based W1200 projector would once, not so very long ago, have been an absolutely bog-standard effort in terms of features and, most likely, performance. Traditional DLP issues such as rainbow noise and 'fizzing' would have both been a cert, sophisticated picture adjustments would have been more or less non-existent, and fancy stuff like motion compensation processing would have been a laughably distant dream.
So competitive is the market today, though, that the W1200 has none of the bad stuff in that list and all of the good stuff - plus loads more positives besides.
In fact, almost the only thing it doesn't do is make a great first impression. For while it looks quite nice in the photographs scattered throughout this article, in the flesh it's a bit too small, plasticky and lightweight to really inspire confidence.
Things look up when you check out the W1200's connections, though. Its twin HDMI provision is pretty standard for this price point, but system building-friendly jacks like an RS-232 port, IR port, USB port and even a 12V trigger output go way further than we'd expect. Also of note are a D-Sub PC input and a monitor output.
Where the W1200 really makes you sit up and take notice, though, is with its spec sheet. For this contains a startling array of features you just wouldn't normally find on a £1200 projector.
For us the single most intriguing and promising thing about the W1200 is the inclusion in its optical system of no less than 12 separate lens elements. This has been done so the projector can reproduce full HD sources with greater sharpness and clarity, as the abundance of lenses can keep a tighter control on the image's focus and purity during its optical 'journey' through the projector.
Also very unexpected - and possibly less welcome - is the W1200's Frame Interpolation processing. As its name suggests, this is designed to calculate and interpolate new frames of image data to counter judder, especially when watching 24fps Blu-rays. But this sort of processing can - especially at the budget end of the market - leave films looking unnatural and 'video-like', as well as generating too many unwanted processing artefacts. At least the option is there to disable the frame interpolation if we can't get on with it.
Another surprising touch for its money is the W1200's claimed 85 per cent NTSC Colour Gamut versus the typical 72 per cent figure - a feat allegedly achieved thanks to a proprietary BenQ colour wheel coating.